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Creating a Morning from Hell

A sonic drama created entirely with Apple Loops By Frank Moldstad

Soundtrack Pro Browser
Soundtrack Pro's Browser
Recently I was browsing through the sound effects loops in Apples Soundtrack Pro, and ended up creating an audio story. It uses only sound to set the scene, develop the action and bring it to a conclusion. Unlike a radio drama, this has no dialog, although theres a groan and a scream. I dont know that it has any practical value (hmmm, podcasting?), but the fact that I was able to put together a coherent narrative is a testament to the breadth of the 5,000 Apple Loops that ship with Soundtrack Pro.

Besides, it was fun.

It began when I discovered a vintage ringing telephone loop that sounded like the old black plastic model my grandmother had. I hadnt heard that sound in years. Then I found an alarm clock sound. Before you know it, I was off to the races (or off my rocker, you be the judge).

As I previewed new sounds in Soundtrack Pros Browser window, they suggested new courses of action that would advance the story. When I found a good one, like a barking dog, I dragged it into the Multitrack timeline. The dentists drill and bulldozer didnt seem appropriate, but the running water held promise, as did the sound of a dial tone.

Soundtrack Pro Multitrack window
Multitrack window
The alarm clock seemed a natural way to kick things off, so I dragged it to the beginning of the first track. Alarm clocks generally make people jump with a start, and I found the perfect reaction, a gasp. This was followed quickly by the sound of rustling blankets (actually a clothing loop) and a sneeze. Most sounds were placed on their own tracks, which allowed events to overlap if need be. By the time I was finished, I had used 23 individual loops spread across 18 tracks, most with just a few seconds of audio. 

Heres the setup:

A guy wakes up late for his first day on a new job and stumbles out of bed. His hungry dog greets him. As soon as he gets into the shower, the phone rings and the dog starts barking. He runs down the hall to answer the phone but the caller hangs up after two rings. He screams with frustration and slams down the phone.

I call it ?Morning from Hell, although the entire thing is over in 20 seconds and there is still time for the guy to have a pretty good morning after all. Maybe in a future episode. But this guy actually got off pretty lightly, considering the plot twists that could have been. For instance, I refrained from using the dinosaur scream and the tiger roar loops.

In the meantime, have a listen:

morning from hell2.mp3


For those who are curious, the following Apple Loops were used (in order of appearance):

1 Alarm Clock.aiff
2. Gasp 4.aiff
3. Clothes 5.aiff
4. Sneeze 3.aiff
5. Bodyfall on Dirt.aiff
6. Door Knob 3.aiff
7. Switch 2.aiff
8. Dog Whine Large 3.aiff
9. Shower FX 02.aiff
10. Bathtub Fill.aiff
11. Telephone 07.aiff
12. Footsteps Bare Run 2.aiff
13. Dog Bark Large 3.aiff
14. Body Hit 09.aiff
15. Body Hit 04.aiff
16. Metal Box 1.aiff
17. Crash Cardboard 2.aiff
18. Crash Metal 3.aiff
19. Telephone 05.aiff (pickup)
20. Telephone 19.aiff (dial tone)
21. Telephone 08.aiff (hangup)
22. Bodyfall on Dirt 3.aiff
23. Garyhelm Scream 2.aiff

The Adaptive Limiter plugin included with Soundtrack Pro was used to tame peaks for the final mixdown, and the file was exported from Soundtrack Pro as a QuickTime movie, then converted to MP3.

As I listen back to this, I noticed there are still a few things that need tweaking. Maybe a volume envelope on the ringing telephone, so it gets louder as the person runs toward it. Or lowering the overall volume of the first gasp. Stopping the footsteps sooner. I would have caught those things ... but I had a tough morning. Fortunately, not a morning from Hell.


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Related Keywords:Apple, Soundtrack Pro, sound effects, loops


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